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The Rebels of Ireland: The Dublin Saga Paperback – February 27, 2007
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Rutherford concludes his stirring Dublin Saga with a sweeping follow-up to his widely praised and popular The Princes of Ireland (2004). Taking up where he left off with the ill-fated Irish revolt of 1534, he conducts the reader on a whirlwind journey through the often-twisted annals of Irish history. After the British conquest of Ireland is complete and the installation of the "plantation" system tolls the death knell of Irish autonomy, the die is cast in a centuries-long political and spiritual quest for either independence or security. Told from the diverse viewpoints of several interrelated families, this epic recounting of the often tragic fate of one nation under two banners is transformed into an irresistible multigenerational chronicle featuring huge servings of romance, action, conflict, intrigue, and adventure. Ambitious in scope, teeming with a huge cast of finely drawn and realized characters, and dripping with authentic historical detail, this lengthy but eminently readable narrative will satisfy the appetites of discerning historical fiction aficionados. The previous volumes in the series have proven very popular, and the latest installment should follow suit. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Praise for the Bestselling Novels of EDWARD RUTHERFURD
The Princes of Ireland:
“A giant, sprawling, easy-to-read story told in James Michener fashion.” —Maeve Binchy
“A sweeping, carefully reconstructed portrait of a nation . . . Leaps through the centuries.” —New York Times
“Spellbinding . . . [A] page-turning Dublin saga . . . Rutherfurd does a magnificent job of packaging a crackling good yarn within the digestible overview of complex historical circumstances and events.” —Booklist
“Remarkable . . . Grand.” —New York Times
“Hold your breath suspense, buccaneering adventure, and passionate tales of love and war.” —The Times (London)
“Fascinating . . . A sprawling epic.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A tour de force . . . Breathtaking.” —Orlando Sentinel
“Bursts with action, encyclopedic in historic detail . . . supremely well crafted and a delight to read.” —Chicago Tribune
“A richly imagined vision of history, written with genuine delight.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“An example of how a skillful historical novelist can illumine the present by dramatically re-creating the past.” —Houston Chronicle
“Rutherfurd literally personifies history.” —New York Daily News
“As entertaining as Sarum and Rutherfurd’s other sweeping novel of British history, London.” —Boston Globe
“The Forest is Michener told with an English accent.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Top customer reviews
In defense of Rutherfurd I do believe this novel provides an excellent historical account, detailed and interesting. However, the fictional characters are not particularly endearing, mostly flat and uninteresting. A story about a people as passionate as the Irish should provide compelling characters. The major theme here is religious conflict, and that seems to be less passion than dogma. Moreover, under the surface much of this religious conflict is driven by greed and the lust for land and power.
There are exceptions to this general lack of passion and personality. The story of the potato famine is told with sympathetic characters, but that is a small part of a very long novel.
If you are interested in a detailed history of Dublin, this volume provides a good effort. But if you are interested in a compelling novel, I would not recommend it.
The chapter on the Great Hunger of the Potato Famine was of particular interest as my paternal ancestors fled the famine as refugees in 1847. The story of the famine is hard to read as it displays the callous indifference of people caught up in tragic circumstances. It is worth the effort to read this if only as a reminder of how fast a civilization can break down without human compassion.
Many of Rutherfurd's earlier books were in the mold of Michener, and while Rutherfurd is good, in my opinion, he is not the equal of Michener in taking a story from prehistory to the present day. Especially where Rutherford tries to tie together family units through centuries, the result is often confusing and hard to follow.
However, in the case of Rebels of Ireland, Rutherfurd is given the time necessary to develop characters and story lines to extents not available in his earlier works. The subject matter is engrossing, especially to one who has actually travelled to and toured the Emerald Isle. The chapter on the potato famine of the 1800s was heart breaking in its vivid portrayal of mass starvation through the eyes of a poor Irish family in County Clare.
Religious turmoil and English domination are certainly the cornerstones of Irish history through the period canvassed by the novel. For those not familiar with contemporary Irish history, this book would be an excellent primer. If you enjoy this novel, I would recommend Russka, another novel by Rutherfurd dealing with Russian peasantry. Rutherfurd's other work (Sarum, London, The Forest and Princes of Ireland), while entertaining and certainly worthwhile, are not the equal of the other two.